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Cook It Light

Guilt-Free Chocolate Concoction

May 26, 1988|JEANNE JONES

Every once in a while even the most noble of us fall from grace and crave something rich and, preferably, chocolate. For those moments when nothing else will do, I am going to ease your guilt just a bit by offering you a healthier chocolate cake recipe.

Many chocolate cake recipes call for eggs and unsweetened chocolate squares. The eggs are a source of cholesterol, and the chocolate squares are loaded with saturated fat, which causes the build-up of cholesterol on our artery walls. Some cake recipes even have mayonnaise as an ingredient, which adds even more cholesterol and calories.

Powder Better Than Squares

This lower-calorie, lower-cholesterol chocolate cake can be made either with roasted carob powder or cocoa. Unsweetened cocoa powder is a better choice than chocolate squares because it contains a lot less cocoa butter, the saturated fat found in hard chocolate. If you want to avoid the saturated fat and the caffeine found in the cocoa, then use the roasted carob powder.

My cake recipe is egg-free and uses nonfat plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise, so it is still rich and moist yet low in cholesterol. I have given you two toppings, so you can vary the look of the cake to suit your needs and desires. The coconut topping will make it into a wonderful German chocolate cake, while the pastry cream topping with cocoa dusting makes a fabulously beautiful chocolate cream cake, for all the right reasons. Be aware, though, that coconut is a highly saturated fat. If this is a concern, then stay with the chocolate cream cake version.


2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups water

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or 1 cup roasted carob powder

1/2 cup corn-oil margarine

1/4 cup nonfat yogurt

Coconut Topping or Pastry "Cream"

Sift together flour, sugar, soda and baking powder in bowl. Combine water, cocoa and margarine in saucepan. Heat, stirring, until margarine is melted and cocoa is dissolved.

Combine flour and cocoa mixtures. Mix yogurt with a wire whisk in a separate small bowl until smooth and creamy. Add yogurt to batter and mix gently just until blended. Pour into 9x13-inch cake pan sprayed with nonstick vegetable coating.

Bake at 375 degrees 40 to 45 minutes or until wood pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely before adding Coconut Topping or Pastry "Cream." Makes 15 servings. (For fewer calories, cut in smaller pieces.)

Coconut Topping

2 tablespoons corn-oil margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup coconut

3 tablespoons nonfat milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melt margarine in saucepan. Add brown sugar, bring to boil and boil gently 2 minutes. Add walnuts, coconut and milk. Stir constantly and boil 1 minute more. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Spread topping on cooled cake and broil 6 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Watch carefully to avoid scorching.

Pastry "Cream"

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Unsweetened cocoa powder

Blend cheese, yogurt, sugar and vanilla in food processor with metal blade until satin smooth. Spread on cool cake and lightly "dust" with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Each serving contains approximately: German chocolate cake--

Calories: 265

Cholesterol: Negligible

Fat: 10 gm.

Sodium: 296 mg.

Chocolate cream cake:

Calories: 235

Cholesterol: 5 mg.

Fat: 8 gm.

Sodium: 294 mg.

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